NCL to get 3rd genome sequencing lab in Pune | Pune News – Times of India


PUNE: The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has decided to step up genome sequencing of the coronavirus by setting up a laboratory at the city-based National Chemical Laboratory (NCL).
This will be the third such facility in the city, after the ones at National Institute of Virology and National Centre for Cell Science.
CSIR director-general Shekhar Mande on Sunday said NCL will get adequately trained staff as well as funding. Mande said the facility will help researchers gain insights into the different variants circulating in Maharashtra.
Mande further said the government should prepare for a third wave of the pandemic, blaming “complacency, mass gatherings and careless attitude” for the ongoing case surge.
Mande said CSIR has stepped up sequencing activity because some mutants were spreading rapidly in Maharashtra. “The two variants — L52R and E484Q — are known to be virulent. These are California-like mutations and our national level consortium has already sequenced over10K samples,” he said.
Mande said these mutations might have been carried into Maharashtra by travellers. “Genomic surveillance is going on and we can alert the government so that the carrier can be quarantined immediately to avoid further spread,” added Mande.
Every district collector has been sent a format for sampling by the central task force.
Mande expressed support for the idea of a lockdown, but said it needs to be balanced as it has a huge impact on economic activity. “A partial lockdown also works well where many infections are found in a particular area. Night curfew also helps prevent citizens from gathering outside, especially at commercial establishments, hotels and restaurants,” Mande said.
Mande further that there was little evidence currently to suggest vaccines do not work on mutations. the definite benefit of the vaccine found that vaccination reduces the intensity of the disease. “Vaccines cannot completely protect against the infection, but definitely shield against extreme events,” Mande added.
Historically, Mande said, pandemics have come in waves. “a third wave in India cannot be ruled out and we must be prepared,” he said.

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